The Fox TV host appeared to be flirting with a 2024 election bid during his latest trip to Iowa, Yahoo! News has reported

Controversial Fox News host Tucker Carlson has triggered renewed media speculation that he will run for US president in 2024 by making some potentially telling comments on his latest visit to Iowa, a key early battleground state for candidates in the American election system.

Speaking on Friday at a gathering of Christian conservative voters in Des Moines, Carlson reportedly began his speech by pointing out how often he has traveled to Iowa over the years. “I think I’ve done the full Grassley,” he said, referring to US Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the veteran politician who makes a point of going to all 99 of the state’s counties during his campaigns.

That comment was enough of a “tell” for Yahoo! News to report that Carlson is angling toward running for president in 2024, despite repeated denials by the host himself. “He’s definitely flirting with it, 100%,” Yahoo! quoted Jon Schweppe, policy director for the American Principles Project, as saying. 

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Just last week, Politico opined that former talk show host Jon Stewart should run on the Democrat ticket for a potential general election showdown with Carlson. “There’s a very good chance that the most popular and most dangerous Republican candidate would be Tucker Carlson,” Politico contributor Juleanna Glover said.

Glover added that Carlson’s “broad name recognition, demagogic gifts and deep support among Fox viewers” would help him win the Republican nomination. She cited a former co-worker of the host, conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg, as saying Carlson “smells the opportunity to be the next Pat Buchanan” and would be a strong candidate.

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Carlson tried last week to put to rest the speculation about his potential candidacy, saying in an interview that he won’t run for president in 2024 or likely any other year. “I don’t want power,” he told Semafor co-founder Ben Smith. “I’ve never wanted power. I’m annoyed by things and I want them to change. But I’ve never been motivated by the desire to control people.”

The Fox pundit has made similar denials previously, such as saying in June 2021 that he had no interest in the job. “I’m a talk show host,” he said. “I enjoy it.”

Carlson ranks as the most popular cable news host in US history, routinely attracting more than 3 million viewers to his nightly show. He averaged more than 5.3 million viewers in October 2020, setting a new record for the cable news industry.

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